Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Candolle, Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyrame
de (France-Switzerland 1806-1893)
Although not quite the revolutionary thinker his father
Augustin was, Alphonse de Candolle yet exhibited a level of industry and
logical acuity that led to his ascending to the top rank of nineteenth
century botanists as well. Candolle succeeded his father as chair of botany
and director of the botanical garden at Geneva, but retired from both
positions in his mid-forties to devote himself to research full-time.
He devoted some of his energy to doing basic descriptive botany (including
carrying on his father's work on the Prodromus, and mounting
his own project, the Monographiae phanerogamarum), but he also
became deeply interested in phytogeographic studies. His 1855 treatise
Géographie Botanique Raisonnée, despite its pre-Darwinian
creationist orientation, featured much close analysis regarding the environmental
causes of plant distribution, especially variations in temperature regimes,
and is a key early title. Candolle would later come to embrace Darwinism
(even translating into French Wallace's Contributions to the Theory
of Natural Selection), and the concept of evolution would inform
two of his late works: Histoire des Sciences..., a commentary-like
history of science, and Origine des Plantes Cultivées,
an important early title in crop geography and the history of domestication.
Candolle, like his father, was much involved in various forms of public
service (he was responsible, for example, for introducing the use of postage
stamps into Switzerland). Candolle's son Casimir was also a prominent
botanist, as was his son.
--born in Paris, France, on 27 October 1806.
--1816: moves to Geneva with his father
--1824-1873: continues the work started by his father on the Prodromus
systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, later on with the aid of
his son, Casimir de Candolle
--1825: bachelor's degree, University of Geneva
--1829: obtains law degree
--1831: made honorary professor at the Academy of Geneva
--1835-1850: director of the botanical gardens and chair of botany at
the University of Geneva
--1850: retires from teaching to concentrate on doing research
--1851: elected to the French Academy of Sciences
--1855: publishes his Géographie
Botanique Raisonnée, in two volumes
--until 1866: active in public service in the Geneva city government
--1867: his Lois de la Nomenclature Botanique accepted by the
International Botanical Congress in Paris
--1869: elected a foreign member of the Royal Society of London
--1873: publishes his Histoire
des Sciences et des Savants Depuis Deux Siècles
--1878-1896: publishes his Monographiae phanerogamarum in
nine volumes, with C. de Candolle
--1883: publishes his Origine
des Plantes Cultivées
--1883: elected to the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.
--dies at Geneva, Switzerland, on 4 April 1893.
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 3 (1971).
--Scientific Monthly, Vol. 19 (1924): 53-62.
--Taxonomic Literature, Supplement III (1995).
Vol. 48 (1893): 269-271.
of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 28 (1893): 406-411.
Journal of Science, Vol. 46 (1893): 236-239.
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All